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Posted by Shinnecock Indian Nation on Thursday, May 23, 2019

Shinnecock Nation debuts first electronic billboard amid opposition

The Shinnecock Nation unveiled the first of two electronic billboards on its land amid strong opposition in New York.

The 61-foot-tall billboard along New York State Route 27 features advertising that changes every few seconds. A second one is also going up along the same highway despite threats of litigation from the state and complaints from local officials and residents.

“The local people may have gotten used to that protection not being there," attorney Judith Shapiro told Newsday, "but they better get over it."

The state Department of Transportation issued a stop work order to the tribe and/or its contractor a week ago on May 17, according to news reports. The tribe contends it does not need permission to put up the billboards.

“The Nation owns the land that this project is going on," Vice Chairman Lance Gumbs told WSHU. "This is not trust land, this is not ceded land, this is not land that was given to us by the state. This is land that we have owned since time immemorial.”

The Shinnecock Nation's status was recognized by the federal government in 2010 after a 32-year process. As such, it is entitled to all of the "immunities and privileges available to other federally acknowledged Indian tribes by virtue of their government-to-government relationship with the United States as well as the responsibilities, powers, limitations and obligations of such tribes," a subsequent notice published in Federal Register states.

The Shinnecock Nation's land ownership rights have been recognized since colonial times. The tribe's reservation on Long Island was recognized by the state in 1859.

Gumbs has said publicly that he doesn't think the tribe should have to go through the land-into-trust process to have its rights recognized. He has instead described the tribe's lands as being held in "restricted fee" status.

Other tribes in New York have restricted fee lands and exercise sovereignty on them.

Read More on the Story
Shinnecock tribe activates one of disputed billboards on Route 27 in Hampton Bays (Newsday May 24, 2019)
First Electronic Shinnecock Billboard Up on Sunrise Highway (Westhampton-Hampton Bays Patch May 24, 2019)
Shinnecock Nation completes billboard along Sunrise Highway (News12 May 24, 2019)
Battle Over Shinnecocks’ Mega Billboards (The East Hampton Star May 23, 2019)
First Of Two Shinnecock Billboards Nears Completion (The Southampton Press May 23, 2019)
Shinnecock Tribe Continues Billboard Work As Lawsuit With State Looms (The East Hampton Press May 21, 2019)
Hampton Bays Civic Groups Protest Billboards, Call For Compromise (The Southampton Press May 21, 2019)
Shinnecock, Unbowed By Stop Order, Continue Billboard Construction (WHSU May 21, 2019)
Despite stop orders, Shinnecock leaders say billboard work will continue (Newsday May 19, 2019)
Hamptons Residents Not Happy About 60-Foot Tall Billboards (Suffolk Daily Voice May 19, 2019)

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